5 Nigerian Symbols Of Power
Symbols of authority and power exist in both public and private life, at nearly all levels. For obvious reasons, however, it is those closely associated with the government which are most popular.
Like the mace, some have been elevated by the notoriety of the events that surround them. There are others that we only became aware of because they were rammed down our throats in social studies.
Then there are the select few that have become symbolic simply by virtue of a person’s legacy and a course of events relating to them.
Without much ado, here are 5 symbols of Nigerian power and what they mean:
(1) The Mace:
Anyone who even casually follows Nigerian politics is well aware of the mace, thanks, for the most part, to our special breed of lawmakers.
The Nigerian Senate’s mace is an ornamental stick, around three feet long, and made of gold (or at least gold is one of its main components). Atop the mace sits a reproduction of the Nigerian coat of arms.
The mace is the Senate’s symbol of authority and must be present before any legitimate sitting can hold. The mace also precedes the Senate President when he arrives at the chamber which typically implies the start of plenary sessions.
(2) The Nigerian Coat of Arms
Nigeria’s coat of arms is one of the most memorable of our national symbols. It’s symbolism and all that it represents have been taught to Nigerian children in schools for decades (along with many other tidbits that have no real life usefulness).
Two white lines meet on the black shield to form a “Y” shape, referring to the Niger and Benue Rivers and their confluence at Lokoja. Two white horses sit on either side represent dignity. Atop the coat, an Eagle signifies strength.
The coat of arms is treated as the country’s official seal. You will find it on just about anything that even reeks of Nigeria, on the money, embossed or stamped on documents, sewn into uniforms and printed on property.
(3) The Naira:
For all we know, there are no primary laws that prescribe that the Nigerian naira is a symbol of authority. We also know, however, that nothing says power like putting your name, billions and naira in the same sentence.
After years of using the pound, Nigeria got its own currency, the naira in 1973. Since then, the naira has been used as a tool, a weapon and the ultimate achievement.
The Naira has solved disputes, created alliances, made grown men kneel before a governor, and done just about everything you’re still uncertain if you’ll ever achieve.
Nigerians will tell you to respect money but no one gets more respect than a man with money. Most of us know that power is the ultimate currency in Nigeria, but there are few better ways of showing and using it than financial wealth.
(4) The Nigerian Army’s Camouflage Colours:
Many sad things can happen to you as a Nigerian living in Nigeria, but there’s sad and then there’s disastrous.
Disastrous is when you’re feeling funky one afternoon and you choose to go out in your new camouflage shorts.
It’s all lovely until, in biblical terms, woe betides you and you come by a Nigerian soldier or an army checkpoint. Our political history and the military’s forays into government (and their attendant high-handedness) have entrenched them as images of political power in our eyes.
Few things bring this to mind like the camouflage clours. The symbolism evokes the threat of extreme physical force and this is not lost on the army either.
Civilians who are found wearing camo are roundly beaten or embarrassed, which although unnecessary, is what happens to you when you claim power than you don’t have.
(5) Titles (Chief, Dr., Pastor etc):
Nigerians love titles because even before they have the opportunity to prove just how much they know or have, the title precedes them as a sign of power and authority.
Depending on what it is, a title can represent financial wealth, intelligence, spiritual power, political influence and many other forms of authority.